Acupuncture and Pregnancy: What’s it for? Is it safe?


So much of today’s social narrative is fraught with judgement and misinformation about what is “normal” during pregnancy and how a woman ought to approach her health and wellness during this precious and important time. All too often, as one prepares to give birth, much fear and shame surrounds one’s choice of birth plan, what the birthing experience will be like and most certainly fear around what happens after the birth.

While women’s bodies are exquisitely designed to bear the weight of such responsibility both in body and in spirit, this does not mean she must be left to suffer if and when things get challenging.

It is our belief at Healing InSight that while yes, pregnancy can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be scary or painful. Acupuncture has been used safely and effectively for thousands of years to bring relief and ease to the very specific and delicate needs of the pregnant woman. Acupuncture has been proven to be a safe, non-invasive, natural and holistic means to move through all the stages of pregnancy, birth and postpartum with greater ease and confidence.

Here at Healing InSight we understand the specific needs and changes that occur during this time and treat each pregnancy as special and unique to each individual whether it is your first or your 4th!

Nicki Balian MaOM, L.Ac., is a Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, licensed acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and a DONA trained doula. 

She combines over 15 years of practice working with various healing modalities and focuses her care on women’s health and fertility, anxiety, and depression. As an innate seeker of knowledge, she is also certified and trained as a massage therapist, Therapeutic CoachÒ, Reiki practitioner, Vinyasa and Yin yoga teacher.

Early in her career, Nicki had the profound privilege of working and training at a clinic whose specialty was women’s health and fertility and who received the Best of Minneapolis award each consecutive year she was there.  It was during these formative years where her passion was ignited for fostering the integration of science, art and the wisdom of humanity.


Below is a list, while by no means exhaustive, is comprehensive of the most common pregnancy ailments.

1st Trimester

·      Morning Sickness/Nausea and Vomiting – With all of the rise in hormones during the first trimester, this is an all-too-common occurrence. Acupuncture can help to ease or eliminate these symptoms all together to ensure the mother and baby are able to receive the proper nutrition.
·      Headache and Fatigue – Yet another culprit of the raising of hormones along with the increase in blood volume. The pregnant body is doing so much cellular growth on a daily basis, and yet the rest of life doesn’t slow down! Many women continue to work, and/or mother previous children so we try to support this growing need to rest and rejuvenate.
·      Bleeding or Threatened Loss – The first trimester is a vital time to help support, uphold and nourish the mother and growing embryo. Acupuncture can strengthen and harmonize the system as to reduce such risks.

2nd Trimester

·      Pelvic Pain – As the hormone relaxin takes effect on all of the tissues and joints of the body, allowing for the spreading of the pelvis, many women experience discomfort in the low back, sacrum or pubic symphysis. Acupuncture can help to reduce the pain and allow for the musculature to be strong in supporting the weight of the growing baby.
·      Blood Sugar Regulation/Gestational Diabetes – When cravings having you reaching for carbs, sweets and other potentially unusual goodies, the pancreas can have a hard time keeping up! Often simply by managing one’s diet, the blood sugar can come under control, but sometimes the system needs a little more help by way of requiring insulin. Either way, acupuncture can help to strengthen the digestive system to reduce cravings, regulate blood sugar and maintain healthy weight for momma and baby.

3rd Trimester & Birth Preparation

·      Pregnancy-Induced Hypertension – Oftentimes a startling discovery as only 2.5-3% of women experience this and many do not have any pre-existing hypertension.  Acupuncture along with close monitoring from one’s doctor can help maintain healthy and safe blood pressure levels, reducing the risk of eclampsia.
·      Optimal Fetal Positioning/Breech Presentation – During the final weeks of gestation baby begins to prepare for birth.  This preparation includes the optimal position OA (occiput anterior), or head down and facing the mothers’ spine.  The sooner this is addressed in the final weeks the better the chances are for the baby having enough room to maneuver (week 36-37 is ideal). Acupuncture along with the Chinese herb moxibustion, or mugwart, can be very effective in helping facilitate this optimal position.
·      Labor Preparation/Cervical Ripening – Just like nature ripens a seed to bear its fruit, so too does the body have to prepare to birth a baby! This preparation requires a softening and an opening and is best done under conditions of a relaxed birthing person.  Acupuncture soothes and calms the nervous system allowing the cascade of hormones to flow and the body to relax and open.


·      Depression and Anxiety – Post-partum mental health issues can be so difficult to struggle with, when presumably it’s supposed to be a time of love and bonding with your baby. Acupuncture and proper nutritional guidance can help strengthen your emotional fortitude so you feel on an even keel again.
·      Milk Supply – Milk supply can dwindle from stress or just missing a few key nutrients and we can address both of those plus use acupuncture to stimulate better flow and increase milk supply.
·      Pelvic Floor Healing – Oh the discomfort that can result after the birthing process! With proper blood flow and reducing inflammation we can make you feel so much more comfortable again.

Oh, what a wondrous, magical and exciting time; this growing of new life inside! With all of its beautiful mystery also comes the far too keen reality of rapid changes in one’s body, mind and spirit.  It is a time when a woman is both divinely strong yet oh-so-tender and vulnerable. While many of these changes are welcome signs of the ever-rapid growth, many of these unspoken changes are fraught with discomfort, worry, and anxiety.

All that said, through the insertion of hair-thin sterile needles, we are able to harmonize and appropriately adjust the functioning of one’s body and mental state.  Each acupuncture treatment is designed to regulate and adapt to the ever-changing needs and demands of the body so as to engender what needs to be strengthened, and calm and soothe what needs to be relaxed.

How Are Appointments Arranged?

  • Your first two appointments with us are chock full of information and support. Your Initial Assessment is a complete health intake so we can get to know you and your pregnancy experience, and includes your first acupuncture treatment.
  • Your Second Session includes a Holistic Health Report highlighting what imbalances you need to keep an eye on, a primer on how Chinese Medicine views pregnancy, stretches and food remedies, and of course another acupuncture treatment.
  • Follow-up sessions are about an hour and address any issues during your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd trimester. 
  • Labor Preparation starts in week 35 and prepares your body for the healthiest, most natural birth possible, while assisting your baby in achieving the best fetal position. 
  • Postpartum Care is uniquely designed to help you recover from the birthing process and be as physically and mentally healthy as possible for your new little one. 

All packages are available as gift certificates and are perfect for baby showers, first time moms, and women desiring a more natural birth experience.

Acupuncture is an invaluable tool to support each mother in setting her up for a successful full-term pregnancy and a positive birth experience. For who doesn’t want happy, healthy babies with happy, healthy mommas! Therefore, it is our commitment to serve women in cultivating a sense of ease, strength, joy and confidence within each and every pregnancy.

We’d love to answer your questions! Book a free Women’s Health consultation here. 

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